Search :

The Dirty Side of Car Washing

The Dirty Side of Car Washing

Well, it's that time of year again. The weather is warming up, and for many people, washing the car in the driveway on a Saturday afternoon is a family tradition. This means taking out the soaps, sponges, buckets and brushes to achieve that perfect shine for your vehicle. What many people don't realize is the effect a driveway car wash can have on the environment. It's not that people don't care. In fact, a May 2006 GMI poll showed that 85% of Americans today are concerned about water pollution[1]. It is simply that there is a lack of awareness on this issue.

To better understand how car washing effects the environment, we first need to look at what you're using to clean your car - soap. Car wash soaps contain what are known as "surfactants". These are used to help break the surface tension of the dirt particles on your car. Many car wash soaps on the market use phosphates or petro-based chemicals as their surfactants. So, when you actually wash down the car, contained in the water are all the pollutants from your vehicle. These include brake dust, oils, exhaust fumes and other nasty contaminants. While your car may look great when you're done washing, one must consider where all that soapy water has gone.

If you live in a residential neighborhood, most of your soaps will drain into an open sewer drain. These sewer drains are not connected to any sort of sanitation system which would otherwise help to treat your car washing soap. So, they end up flowing directly to our lakes, rivers, streams, and oceans. Once there, the surfactants in these soaps are known to be harmful to aquatic life. How? In fish populations these surfactants "destroy the external mucus layers protecting fish from bacteria and parasites, not to mention the severe damage to the gills."[2] While some recommend washing your car on the lawn, I see this as a quick fix to a larger problem. You will still be releasing the same chemicals into the environment regardless of on the lawn versus in the driveway.

Luckily today there are options to be "green" while washing your car. The waterless car wash is one solution which has gained popularity in recent years. With this technique, you spray down your car, one panel at a time, with a spray bottle. Then, you wipe clean with a microfiber towel (which can be re-used multiple times). It is quite effective, and actually much faster than a conventional hose and bucket wash. You can find this type of formula here - eco touch„ waterless car wash + polish

If your car is heavily soiled, the next best option would be to seek on an eco-friendly car wash. Pick one which re-uses a large portion of their water.

So next time you're getting ready to clean your vehicle, think again before you pull out that hose and bucket. Good luck.


[2] Stormwater - Take Me Out to the Carwash

About The Author James Dudra is an ecopreneur from Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He currently owns and runs eco touch LLC, which sells a complete line of earth-friendly waterless car care products at eco touchâ„¢ waterless car wash
The 10 Commandments of Defensive Driving
Brain Training to Improve Driving Skills Using Video Games, For Teenagers and Older Adults
Useful Tips and Advice for Reducing the Cost of Motoring
Different Forklift Accessories
Hiring a Limo for your Wedding
DIY Fuel Saver - Hydrogen Fuel Boost Kit
Indian Auto Sales Report
Should I Use Synthetic Oil In My New Car?
Car Care Products
How To Choose A Scooter For Your Needs

more articles...